ALBUM: Witching Waves – ‘Persistence’

Founded just over five years ago by Emma Wigham and Mark Jasper, Witching Waves are a DIY post-punk trio hailing from London. Sharing the name of an amusement ride from Coney Island, New York (and later Blackpool, England) Witching Waves is as raw as its namesake; a juxtaposition of metallic melodies and propulsive rhythm.

Having released their debut LP, 2014’s Fear of Falling Down, and 2016’s Crystal Cafe, on the now-defunct Soft Power Records, Witching Waves are now set to release their third album. Joining Wigham’s infectious drumming and Jasper’s angular riffing is Estella Adeyeri on bass guitar. Adeyeri’s addition to the band in 2016, in addition to a relentless touring schedule, sparked the creative energy that culminated into their most confident record, Persistence.

Writing for Persistence started in 2016, with the music recorded over two days in 2017, and mixing done in 2018; hence the name of the album. With their debut, Witching Waves were simply experimenting; Wigham was learning how to play the drums at the time, in the studio, and in front of a live audience. Songs were often recorded not long after they were written. But on Persistence, Witching Waves have taken their time – preforming new songs live, laying the foundations for the LP – resulting in a much more focused release.

This is not to say that Persistence is a more polished record. Recorded live directly to tape within Jasper’s Hackney warehouse studio, Sound Savers, Witching Waves have lost none of their DIY ethics; as is evident from the opening track, ‘Disintegration’. The band recorded the album on their own – with minimal help with the mixes – resulting in much welcome distortion. Without being able to monitor the levels on the tapes, Jasper’s guitar frequently went into the red and Persistence is all the better for it! ‘Disintegration’ is a great example of how these live takes make the record sound so authentic.

Next, Wigham goes full throttle on ‘Best of Me’ – the latest single to be released. Crashing against the drums with ferocity, Wigham displays a sense of discomfort with lyrics that touch upon self-worth and identity. “I can’t move on / I can’t go back / You’ve got the best of me.” The tension throughout is inescapable, but it is the frantic raw energy of ‘Eye 2 Eye’ – a self-described ode to conflict” – that displays the maturity of a band pissed off. Wigham and Jasper trade vocals that demand your attention amongst scratchy guitar riffing, pulsating bass lines, and clashing cymbals: “When did we decide to talk about it? / How do we begin to talk about it?”

 

Persistence continues to see Witching Waves channel their internal tensions regarding relationships and society into each unapologetic track. An obvious example would be ‘Money’, a song focused on the English capital that is becoming increasingly unaffordable for its many residents. The band’s honesty and emotion is admirable, with each member revealing themselves to the world; their frustrations and discomforts captured on this very personal record.

With Persistence, Witching Waves have produced a brash, complex, and dark post-punk record with pop sensibilities that documents an authentic, ongoing struggle worthy of repeat listening.

Persistence, the upcoming album from Witching Waves, is out 5th April via Specialist Subject Records.

Ken Wynne
@Ken_Wynne

Live Highlights of 2018

Despite being a pretty scary year in the grand scheme of things, 2018 has actually been exceptionally great for new music. And seeing live music has, as ever, provided a necessary catharsis and enjoyment; forever giving us something to look forward to. 

Having witnessed an uncountable amount of women/non binary folk being awesome on stage this year, it was hard to pick out our highlights … But, from some of our DIY faves, to Fever Ray and Courtney Barnett (and – yes – Indietracks Festival features twice, it’s that great), here are a few events that stood out as particularly special for us… 

Witch Fever Live @ The Finsbury, January:
2018 has been of year of many incredible gigs, not least our own gigs that we’ve been lucky enough to host at The Finsbury. And, whilst I have a massive amount of love and pride in all the gigs we’ve hosted, the year kicked off with a pretty immense one. Manchester’s Witch Fever, who made two six hour coach journeys to be with us, treated us to their frenzied, raucous offerings with an incredible, un-matched power. As front woman Amy’s incredible, snarling energy stole the show, we were all left completely in awe of this band’s formidable intensity. And they weren’t the only amazing band of the night; joining them was the empowering force of The Nyx, the grunge-fuelled energy of ARXX and the gorgeous pop-punk of Militant Girlfriend.
(Mari Lane – Managing Editor/Co-Founder)

Fever Ray @ The Troxy, March:
Fever Ray’s fierce, focused, sold out performance at the Troxy proved she’s an inimitable talent with a vision, generosity, and energy unlike any other. In Fever Ray’s space, no-one is an outsider: everyone is welcome in her warped and wonderful world. Emerging from the lights in her trademark “I heart Swedish girls” t-shirt and bare scalp, from start to finish the sound was flawless. Each lyric, synth sequence and drum beat was more distinct and discernible than the next – if you weren’t there, you definitely missed out.
(Kate Crudgington – Features Editor/Co-Founder)

Petrol Girls @ Shacklewell Arms, April:
Mari and I were so excited to see the brilliant Petrol Girls live for the first time this year, and they did not disappoint. Loud, lethal and life-affirming: their headline show was a raw, frenzied, furious affair. The band packed out the venue with the help of their friends Pretty Pistol and Screaming Toenail (our new favourite band), and played our favourite track ‘Touch Me Again’ with all the ferocity and energy we’d come to expect from this brilliant band of activists.
(Kate Crudgington)

Indian Queens @  Robert Smith’s Meltdown Festival, June:
Hackney trio Indian Queens performed to a packed out Purcell Room at The Southbank Centre this year, after being hand-picked by The Cure’s Robert Smith to play his (exceptionally well curated) 2018 Meltdown Festival. The band delivered a mesmeric, sharply executed performance that ended in a well deserved standing ovation. I felt like I’d witnessed something truly special from the Cool Thing Record signees when I left the building, and I look forward to catching them again in 2019.
(Kate Crudgington)

Indietracks Festival (and its sense of community), July:
There is the smell of long past years in the carriage as the rails clackity-clack below you, the signalman waves from the box as you pass, and behind the sidings crammed with moss-windowed rolling stock the natural amphitheatre of the main stage hoves into view.

Indietracks is hidden away but for those in the know its not just the boutique festival quietly winning at line-ups, its home. Not only welcoming and familiar, but full of friendship and love. The diversity of the billing, the cute touches and culture-clash between trains and music will delight newcomers but the community sustained between years – by the festival and railway volunteers, each band, every festival-goer – is something to be really astounded by. At a time when togetherness feels more elusive, but is ever more vital, Indietracks should be both celebrated and cherished for the community its nurtured and welcomes home each summer.
(Sarah Lay – Contributor)

Indietracks Festival (and the diversity of its line-up), July:
With our ongoing disappointment at the lack of diversity on the majority of mainstream festival line-ups this year, I was particularly excited to discover Indietracks – one that refreshingly, consistently, champions DIY bands and artists of all genders and genres. And, I wasn’t to be disappointed; the weekend – set in the idyllic Midland Railway Centre near Ripley in Derbyshire – exceeded all expectations.

Ask me about any of my favourite bands of 2018, and they were probably playing at Indietracks Festival. From an array of glorious indie-pop (Wolf Girl, Colour Me Wednesday, Happy Accidents, Worst Place), Feminist punk (Dream Nails, The Baby Seals, Dream Wife) and all the scuzzy, dreamy sounds in-between (Ghum, Sink Ya Teeth, Sacred Paws, Girl Ray), every single band I saw filled me with an empowering sense of joy and blissful gratitude. And I think all those I saw consisted of female identifying/non binary artists.

So, whilst it still seems to be unusual to attend bigger festivals these days and not encounter ingrained misogyny or disrespect of some kind, Indietracks felt like a different world; a safe, joy-filled world, and one jam-packed with all the best music (plus owls and parrots!).
(Mari Lane)

Qween Kwong @ Rough Trade East, July:
I remember this gig for several reasons. Firstly, because I arrived soaked in sweat and rain from the downpour that briefly broke the overwhelming summer heatwave, and secondly because I was lucky enough to interview Queen Kwong before her set. She was just as cool (and as cutting) as I’d imagined her to be, and her live performance was a visceral, loud, defiant example of her songwriting talent.
(Kate Crudgington)

Wendy Rae Fowler @ The Finsbury, September:
I won’t lie; prior to Wendy Rae Fowler headlining for us at The Finsbury this September I was overwhelmingly excited and a little nervous. I’ve been a huge fan of her work over the years, and to have her play for us stands out for me as a particularly special moment (or 45 minutes) of 2018. Immediately creating a captivating, cinematic atmosphere, she filled the room with a majestic sense of wonder, delivering a soul-grabbing, breath-taking set that I’m truly honoured to have hosted.
(Mari Lane)

Courtney Barnett Live In Berlin, November:
Touring her second album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, Courtney Barnett was a sight to behold this year: quite literally. I looked on with envy when the Deal sisters provided backing vocals for ‘Nameless, Faceless’ at the BBC’s Biggest Weekend Festival. But, fortunately, a trip to Berlin also included seeing Courtney live at the city’s Huxleys Neue Welt venue. Seeing the songs played on a larger scale, contrasting with the more laidback atmosphere of songs taken from her debut and early EPs highlighted Barnett’s brilliance and renewed my appreciation of her songwriting.
(John McGovern – Contributor)

 

 

 

WATCH: Barbarella’s Bang Bang – ‘Cowboy Job’

Dust off your stetsons and straw bales, because Barbarella’s Bang Bang have shared visuals for their latest single ‘Cowboy Job’, and it’s a rockabilly rodeo you don’t want to miss out on. Released via their own label Barbarella Records, the song is a twisted ode to a past relationship.

Fronted by Barbara Pugliese, Barbarella’s Bang Bang are comprised of members originating from Italy, Latvia and London – so their garage-rock sound is infused with influences from classical to punk rock. The ironically titled ‘Cowboy Job’ takes a story of heartbreak and reforms it into one of empowerment.

“This is the first time that I’ve written about something that gave me a lot of grief, with groove”, Barbara explains. “In regards to the satire within the lyrics, I must say, it’s been a very efficient healing method. With humour, the weight of something heavy gets lighter and we can get over things a bit easier. I’m actually grateful for having encountered this in my life, I was inspired a lot artistically. Let’s say that there’s sometimes a pearl to be found in the trash!”

Regarding the video, the band added, “The concept of the video of ‘Cowboy Job’ was to create wonky western Arizona scenery made out of cardboard that would visually reflect a ‘cowboy job style’. We tried our best to come out with some acting episodes that would portray the anger, laughter, humour, charm, and deception conveyed from the narrative of the song…and we did a pretty good job! The team involved in the making of the video were all close mates who are amazingly talented artists and helped efficiently within the process of filming the video… it’s all about the collective spirit and DIY!”

We’re fans of BBB’s DIY endeavours! Watch the video for ‘Cowboy Job’ below and follow Barbarella’s Bang Bang on Facebook for more updates.

Photo Credit: Lou Smith

Kate Crudgington
@KCBobCut

Track Of The Day: Wolf Girl – ‘Toast For Dinner’

Set to release their second album in October, South London’s Wolf Girl have now shared a brand new video for latest single ‘Toast For Dinner’. Having recently captivated us with their sunny charm live at Indietracks Festival, and featuring Christabel from Suggested Friends on drums, Wolf Girl are fast becoming a firm favourite.

Flowing with an infectious jangly scuzz and twinkling uplifting harmonies, ‘Toast for Dinner’ is an exquisite slice of perfect indie-pop. Propelled by a driving, vibrant energy and Healey’s luscious vocals – and with thoroughly relatable lyrics like “toast for dinner again, I’m trying to tie up loose ends” -, it’s a total delight for the ears, leaving us longing to hear the upcoming album in full.

Watch the magic-tinged video for ‘Toast For Dinner’ here:

Every Now And Then, the forthcoming album from Wolf Girl, is out 19th October via Everything Sucks. Pre-order here.

Mari Lane
@marimindles

 

LIVE: Indietracks Festival 27/07/18 – 29/02/18 (PART 2)

(Part 2 of our Indietracks Festival review – read Part 1 here….)

Continuing a completely joyous Saturday, queens Dream Wife take to the outdoor stage. Having not seen them for about three years when they completely blew me away at Visions Festival, they do not disappoint. Oozing their trademark empowering force, Rakel and co. take my breath away once more; such is their immense liberating power. Sparkling with her vibrant charisma, Rakel is the perfect, engaging front woman as Alice and Bella deliver frenzied, defiant hooks. With shout outs to Alice’s super cool grandma (who I was standing next to in the crowd), and a truly stirring performance of ‘Somebody’ (“this one’s about smashing gender roles that need to be smashed”), Dream Wife prove they’re an unstoppable force to be reckoned with.

After unsuccessfully attempting to get into the church to catch Spanish band Melenas (they sounded good from the door though!), we chill out for the rest of Saturday evening – preparing ourselves for a Sunday jam-packed full of some of the best new music.

Despite a rainy start, all the lush live music on Sunday certainly brightens the mood. The first example being Brighton band Just Blankets who bring their dreamy harmonies to the indoor stage; the perfect start to the day.

And the rain doesn’t stop us heading to see personal faves Wolf Girl. Alongside many “wet jokes”, they deliver their immensely infectious, thoroughly engaging indie-pop to perfection. As the crowd unites in a buoyant, albeit damp, cheer, I find that singing along to the uplifting hooks and exquisite harmonies of tracks such as ‘Middlesexy’ causes me to complete forget the weather and drift away on waves of Wolf Girl’s sunny energy.

Heading back to shelter for our favourite Feminist Punk Witches Dream Nails on the indoor stage, the DIY spirit and wonderful music continues. Despite having seen them live many times, Dream Nails never fail to totally inspire me. Treating us to a range of songs, new and old, they deliver their message as loud and as clear as ever to an adoring crowd of near 700. With her truly captivating intense energy, Janey leads the way in raging against sexual violence, misogyny and Facism, as guitarist Anya delivers impressive racing riffs, and Mimi and Lucy complete the punk-filled power of this unique band. As they deliver riotous impassioned lyrics such as “Hey mister, get your hands off my sister”, and express solidarity with those coming out as queer with uplifting offerings like ‘Swimming Pool’, a wonderful aura of unity sweeps throughout the crowd – as girls, women and non-binary people of all ages (in front of me a mother bops with her head-phoned baby in arms) dance and sing in solidarity – and I’m reminded once again why these strong-spirited wonder-women are so essential in our lives right now.

After sticking around to dance in buoyant joy to the utterly uplifting and twinkling calypso-like musicality of Tigercats, the empowering mood continues with (yet another GIHE fave), The Baby Seals in the church. With their uplifting charisma and triumphant wit, they champion autonomy and body positivity with wonderfully tongue-in-cheek (and amazingly entitled) offerings such as ‘My Labia’s Lopsided But I Don’t Mind’ and ‘Nipple Hair’, as well as mighty tracks celebrating Masturbation Month. Apologising for mentioning “tits” in a church, The Baby Seals celebrate all things female and break gender boundaries in all the right ways with their superb insightful humour and catchy musical prowess.

Sticking around in the intimate setting of The Church, we’re welcomed by another band who’ve wowed us at one of our nights at The Finsbury – the immensely impressive Sink Ya Teeth. Oozing their addictive, pulsating beats and ‘80s-inspired dance-pop hooks, they continue to prove themselves to be one of the most exciting bands around. As Maria Uzor’s smooth, intoxicating vocals soar, Gemma Cullinford’s pounding, funk-fused bass-lines provide a perfect, groove-ridden soundscape.

As the sun shines once more, we head back to the outdoor stage for North London’s Girl Ray. With their sweet, sunny charisma, each offering is a truly uplifting delight. Flowing with smooth, swooning vocals and catchy jangly melodies, they deliver their dreamy slices of gentle garage-rock with a sparkling grace, and – despite appearing to miss my personal favourite ‘Stupid Things’ – continue to cement their place firmly in our hearts.

After another welcome interlude with the owls and parrots (still not over how amazing this festival was!), final band of the weekend, Scotland’s Honeyblood, soothe our ears as the sun goes down. With a shimmering grace combined with their scuzzy garage-rock anthems and subtle empowering energy, the duo draw an end to the live music with all the perfect uplifting colour and fiery finesse we could have hoped for.

And that’s it; after spending a few more blissful hours dancing away in The Marquee, my first Indietracks is over. The most refreshing and enjoyable of weekends; one which exceeded all expectations. It was simply so wonderful to be a part of an event that so triumphantly champions DIY bands and artists of all genders and genres, in a beautiful location that’s not only family friendly, but a safe space for all, however you may identify.

Unfortunately, it still seems to be unusual to attend bigger festivals these days and not encounter ingrained misogyny or disrespect of some kind, but Indietracks felt like a different world; a safe, joy-filled world, and one jam-packed with all the best music (Also, did I mention there are owls and parrots?!). So, huge thanks to the organisers for creating something so beautiful, and I can only hope that more events start to take a leaf out of your book very soon!

Until next year, Indietracks…

Mari Lane
@marimindles

LIVE: Indietracks Festival, 27/07/18 – 29/07/18 (PART 1)

With our ongoing disappointment at the lack of diversity on the majority of mainstream festival line-ups this year, I was particularly excited to have found out about Indietracks Festival (thanks to a number of bands I know who all highly recommended it) – one that refreshingly, consistently, champions DIY bands and artists of all genders and genres. And, I wasn’t to be disappointed; the weekend – set in the idyllic Midland Railway Centre near Ripley in Derbyshire – exceeded all expectations.

After one of the hottest, and longest, drives of our lives, we finally arrived. Hurriedly setting up our tent at the best campsite we’ve ever been to (Golden Valley Camping and Caravan Park), I was relieved to make it to the site just in time to catch first band of the weekend, the ever lovely Worst Place. Having previously charmed us at one of our events at The Finsbury (a little bit of theme throughout the weekend…), they soon spread their contagious, effervescent joy with their truly dreamy, sparkling brand of infectious indie pop, with shades of the sunny energy of Best Coast or Alvvays. And, with their youthful charisma and witty rapport with the crowd (“Don’t swear in front of the kids… Actually, it’s ok, they’re cool festival kids!”), they’re simply impossible not to love.

Following a tasty – and reasonably priced – pint of local beer, next up are another band who never fail to make me smile: Sacred Paws. Treating us to one delectable, danceable delight after another, front woman Rachel Aggs bounces across the stage with a whirring energy as their vibrant melodies flow seamlessly alongside lush harmonies and thrilling, racing beats. As the whole front field fills with smiling faces and buoyant bodies, I’m left grinning cheek to cheek at the utterly uplifting experience of seeing one of my favourite bands live on a sun-filled evening, surrounded by like-minded people and good vibes a plenty.

One of the few bands of the weekend that I haven’t seen live before, Friday’s headliners The Lovely Eggs blow me away with their immense, raucous offerings. Slightly more cynical, yet no less great, than the evening’s previous acts, vocalist/guitarist Holly Ross fast becomes my new hero. With a refreshing honesty and spot-on wit, her between-song banter (and necking of bottles of water) is matched only by the wonderfully eccentric energy and vibrant riotous delivery of each and every track. Leaving me desperate to make seeing them live a regular occurance, the duo’s insightful and charismatic lo-fi psych sounds are the perfect end to the perfect start of this perfect festival.

After a little boogie to some bangers, thanks to Des Was A David Bowie Fan DJs in the indoor stage (I literally ran inside to the sound of Le Tigre being played), we head back to the tent to prepare ourselves for another day of blissful sounds.

Being one of the first to arrive on site on Saturday, we have some time to spend with the owls and parrots (yes, there are owls and parrots at this festival!), before heading to the indoor stage to check out Belfast-based Strange New Places. With their luscious, folk-tinged punk pop offerings, reflecting on mental health and queerness (and Conor Oberst lyrics), they’re a truly gorgeous way to start a Saturday, and a band I’ll definitely be hoping to hear a lot more of in the future.

Another band who’ve graced our Finsbury stage and wowed me with their immersive live performances numerous times, GIHE faves Ghum kick things off on the outdoor stage with a bit of their unique gothic energy. Simply captivating as always, they treat us to a set of songs old and new, drawing in an attentive and intrigued crowd as their sweeping splendour oozes from the stage. As a wave of pride comes over me, it really is wonderful to see these women take on a festival for the first time and absolutely nail it! As front woman Laura’s magnetising charisma draws you in, and the band’s sweeping atmospheric dark-pop floats into the ears with a majestic grace, Ghum prove they’re a band who deserve to be heard – and have most certainly made some new fans with this stunning performance.

Although I was actually meant to be heading to the church next, we end up back in the indoor stage (it’s where the beer is), and happen upon Happy Accidents – a happy accident, if you will! And I couldn’t be more glad we did. With their instantly uplifting pop-punk offerings and delicious harmonies, they’re a true delight to have accidentally come across. Having waited four years to play the festival, they encourage us to “keep the head-nodding going” throughout, and how could we not? They’re just so buoyantly head-nod inducing with their shimmering creations. And, when asked to boo for the camera for a video they’re making, I find it quite impossible – sorry guys, if there’s someone in the crowd with a big stupid grin on their face, it’s probably me, it’s just the effect you have!

After a short break to enjoy some of the fantastic vegetarian food on offer at the festival, Colour Me Wednesday treat our ears to their luscious honey-sweet harmonies, sunny, twinkling energy and instantly catchy jangly melodies. Priding themselves on their DIY feminist ethos, they succeed in brightening up a drizzly afternoon with their truly enlivening offerings and empowering spirit.

I pull myself away from Colour Me Wednesday to catch some of the dreamy sounds of Nightflowers. Over the last few weeks I’ve been totally addicted to their infectious latest album Wild Notion, and so it’s a delight to be able to sing along to it live. Fronted by the dazzling sparkle of Sophia Pettit, the band deliver a set filled with a vibrant energy and perfect, shimmering indie-pop.
 

Although there’s only a certain number of adjectives to describe just how wonderful all the bands at Indietracks were, I’m going to continuing using them more in part two of my review of the weekend (featuring Dream Wife, Dream Nails, Sink Ya Teeth, Girl Ray and more…) Coming very soon!

Mari Lane
@marimindles

Interview & Playlist: Indietracks Festival

With festival season fast approaching, we’re getting extremely excited about heading to Derbyshire festival Indietracks for the first time this July. And, with our ongoing disappointment at the lack of diversity on the majority of mainstream festival line-ups this year, it’s particularly refreshing to come across one that consistently champions DIY bands and artists of all genders and genres. 

With the line up looking particularly wonderful this year, we caught up with Nat and Beck from Indietracks to find out more! 

Hi Indietracks! 2018 will be the festival’s 12th year – congrats! Can you tell us a bit about how it all started out?
Nat: The festival was originally the idea of Stuart Mackay, who used to work at the Midland Railway restoring the steam trains there. He had the idea of holding an indiepop one-night gig in April 2007, taking place on the platform at Butterley. The event sold out really quickly and was so successful that the railway then supported him to turn it into a weekend festival, with the first one being held in the summer of that year! When we first started, we didn’t even have an outdoor stage, but since then the festival has grown and evolved into something bigger than we could have ever dreamed of, with four stages, kids activities, workshops, discos and a fantastic food and merch area too. Sadly Stuart had to step down in 2010, and the team has changed a bit since 2007, but we’re still all so excited about running the festival!

What strikes me about Indietracks and makes it stand out against other festivals at the moment is the number of DIY bands and the good gender balance of the line up – was there an intentional and specific decision to do this, or does it just naturally pan out that way?
Beck: We’re aware of the need to get a good gender balance, but I think it’s more of a natural process for us. Female/femme fronted bands are just very visible in our DIY world and there are so many awesome bands that we want to book.

And how do you feel about the general lack of female headliners at a lot of big festivals at the moment?
Beck: I don’t really get it! It was great to see Beyonce, Cardi B and St Vincent given headline/prominent billing at Coachella this year, and I hope other festivals will follow suit. I think this whole issue just shows the difference between DIY and more mainstream music festivals.
Nat: I don’t get it either! In the run-up to Indietracks we’re just focused on creating our own line-up, and I’m really happy that we’re managing to showcase such a good balance of bands. Other festivals like Decolonise, First Timers Fest and Wales Goes Pop also showcase a brilliant range of bands too. Hopefully more mainstream festivals will continue to follow suit!

Over the last 11 years, you’ve hosted some amazing bands and artists including The Go! Team, Slow Club, Camera Obscura, Cate Le Bon and Skinny Girl Diet, but has there been a particular set that stands out for you as a personal highlight over the years?
Beck: Personally, it was seeing Helen Love in 2013. She means an awful lot to me – Love, Glitter, Hot Days and Music was the soundtrack to so many of mine and my sister’s nights out when we were sixteen or so, and ‘Debbie Loves Joey’ has been played at pretty much every clubnight I’ve ever DJ-ed! I never thought I’d get to see her because she didn’t really play live, so that Indietracks show was unbelievably exciting – everybody was singing and dancing along and there were confetti cannons!
Nat: I’ve been to Indietracks since the first one-nighter event in 2007, so I’ve got a lot of memories to look back on! My personal favourites are probably La Casa Azul in 2009, when Elefant sponsored our outdoor stage, and The Go! Team in 2015, which was just amazing. We’d wanted to book them for so long, and they were just brilliant!

And this year you’ve got some GIHE faves playing – Dream Wife, Sacred Paws, Ghum, Dream Nails, Sink Ya Teeth… Curating such awesome line ups must be a lot of work – how do you normally go about it? Is it all based on bands/artists that have got in touch with you over the year?
Beck: We start off with a list of bands we are personally keen to book and we also look at Facebook and the Anorak Forum where people post up their wish-lists. We also get contacted by bands, agents, record labels who know the festival and, finally, we have an applications process where bands submit their music for us to consider. I think we’ve listened to somewhere in the region of 450-500 bands to get to the final line-up this year.

And for any upcoming bands/artists looking to apply for festivals next year, do you have any tips?
Beck: I can only really speak from the perspective of our applications process and aside from the obvious (make sure your contact email address and the link to your music work!), I find it really useful to know about the live shows bands have been playing (who they’ve been playing with, who is putting them on etc) and whether they’ve got any press that we can look at.

How do you feel the music industry is for new bands and artists at the moment – would you say it’s difficult to get noticed?
Beck: I think it’s hard for us to say because we’re focused on a very specific DIY community. We’ve got a few bands on the bill this year who don’t have a big profile in our world, but we just really liked, and we always keep an eye on who is playing events like First Timers Fest, Loud Women, Decolonise and Wales Goes Pop to find interesting new artists. I think festivals like these give new, up-and-coming bands an opportunity to get noticed and play shows in front of good crowds and that’s really positive.

Finally, as we’re a new music focused site, are there any particular new bands or artists you’d recommend we check out?
Beck: Beyond the bands we’ve booked for the festival, I’m really loving Karen Meat’s debut album (You’re An Ugly Person) which has just come out on Emotional Response Records. The lyrics are hilarious, and it’s sort of lo-fi with a liberal sprinkling of jazzy keyboard demos and bass riffs. Honestly, they’re amazing – check them out! Halo Maud is a really interesting new Heavenly Recordings signing.
Nat: I’ve been listening to the Indietracks compilation at the moment – Sink Ya Teeth, Happy Accidents and Melenas are definitely all worth checking out!

Huge thanks to Nat and Beck for answering our questions, we can’t wait for Indietracks festival on 27th – 29th July! Find all ticket and line-up info at their website.

And, in the meantime, have a listen to our playlist of some of our Indietracks faves here: